What the Star Ferry pier demolition tells us

The management of the Hong Kong ferry company which runs the ferry route from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui, disclosed that following the demolishment of the Star Ferry pier at the Edinburg Square, Central, and moving of the pier to a more remote location, the traffic has decreased by 15%. The company said it would consider a fare hike in the near future.

It is a vivid demonstration of how wrong the HK government has been in ruthlessly demolishing such a historic and familiar place to HK people. The demolishment has not only destroyed a HK legacy and heritage, but also taken away a transport means for the public who now because of the remote location of the pier, have to forfeit its use.

The ferry ride has been an enjoyable ride for me, taking in the harbor view and landscape at both sides of the harbor. Now, physically, I don’t want to walk that long distance to take the ferry; psychologically, I don’t want to use the new pier either – in silent protest against the ugly development of this city and the indifference of its government.

The hint to applaud

In case you don’t know, in China, when the leadership makes a speech, clapping hands in support of the points they make, from time to time, is common practice. But how can the people know when they should applaud? Easy, the leadership will raise the tone at places intended to be applauded, and then the public will know and acknowledge by clapping hands.

I was watching news yesterday on TV and could not help hold Hong Kong’s chief executive Donald Tsang in awe. Gosh, he was so good in imitating the Chinese leadership when making a speech to the Hong Kong-based Chinese army (PLA, People’s Liberation Army). Where he praised the army for its professionalism and friendliness, he skillfully raised the tone at the end of the sentence, and immediately the audience of the soldiers exploded in applauding. I found it both funny and pathetic.

Well, there must be reasons why Mr Tsang can be HK’s chief executive, and the above episode demonstrates why: You have to behave and think like you boss does.

It is saddening for HK, whose people have worked so hard to build the port city into a world renowned city, only to see they have no say in who with what attributes to lead them, and are told economic prosperity is the only thing they treasure. Their voice is fabricated and not heard.

When the government is spending a great deal of money to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of HK’s return to China, I find myself indifferent to all the fanfare.

The urgent event on 4 June

June 4, the day China’s student democracy movement was suppresed, is a sensitive day for Mainland authority. On this past day, the press organizations in HK received an urgent press invitation from the Liaison Office of the China Central Government in Hong Kong, the highest China authority in the city. This must be something very big and important to cover, the press reckoned, given that it is on June 4 and the invitation is marked urgent. 

The press organizations sent out strong teams to the event venue, only to find that the “big and important” event was China Premier Wen Jiabao had written to a Hong Kong primary school pupil. The premier wrote in clear writing so that the pupil could identify the characters, and he encouraged the pupil to study hard and love her country and Hong Kong, the press was told.

The following day, this urgent event was reported in a small corner of the non pro-China press.

For the China press, anything that the leadership says and does is important, and invariably becomes a headline story. With little knowledge about Hong Kong and its people, the China authority in Hong Kong attempted to apply that principal to Hong Kong’s press, only to see dismal results.

The sad thing is, the China authority in Hong Kong has refused to see the reality and the truth of the world, despite their ten years in Hong Kong, after the city’s handover in 1997. And it is these people who can influence Hong Kong’s future.

Sequel to demolition of Hong Kong Star Ferry Pier

The old Hong Kong Star Ferry Pier in Central was demolished, after the authoritarian HK Government frowned on public protest and anger and went ahead as planned.

I used the new Star Ferry Pier last week, carrying my 3-year-old niece with me. It was a hell. The way from the bus station on the main road of Central to the pier is SO LONG.. With the baby in my arms, it was an uphill battle to walk the minimum 15-min passage to the pier. Anger fired up inside me. What the hell is this demolition for? Not to mention keeping history and collective memory, the simple fact is, the demolition is not in the interest of the residents of the city. The new pier in Central is so hard to reach.

With a nice location, historic value and collective memory, the old pier just disappeared like that, and a fake-Victoria style building as the new pier, stands somewhere, out of touch with people. Just like the government of this city.

A Political Farce Unveiling

Hong Kong is staging a political farce. The candidate of the Chief Executive of the Government, also the incumbent Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, will surely win in today’s election where only a privileged group of 800 people in the whole HK’s 7 million population can vote.

What is more, these 800 people are mainly pro-Beijing businessmen and professionals, mostly appointed or elected in their respective professional sectors. The so called “election” is blatantly a sham – the election’s result is known even before the campaign starts, and most of the people in the territory, including me, are not eligible to vote.

Ironically, Mr Tsang staged a rally on the eve of the Election Day, summoning some HK pop stars and outstanding athletes, among others, to the occasion. Given that these HK pop stars and athletes never discuss in public at length or shown any interest in politics or social issues, and neither any of them is civic or political activist, the rally became an awkward show where they used the language they were uncomfortable with, to sing swan songs to Mr Tsang.

And today, after the election result was announced, the TV showed throngs of people surrounding Mr Tsang, congratulating him on his success. What success is this when the “success” is pre-determined and not won?

I feel disgust. When lies and fakes are obvious lies and fakes, but taken to be truth, and when so many people are willing to be the accomplices of these lies and fakes, can you not feel disgust?